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December 29, 2020 10:25 am

House Democrats Sign Letter Calling on Biden to ‘Swiftly’ Rejoin Iran Nuclear Deal

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The Iran nuclear program’s Arak heavy water reactor. Photo: Nanking2012 via Wikimedia Commons. – A group of 150 Democrats in the US House of Representatives has signed a letter calling on US President-elect Joe Biden to “swiftly” reenter the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

In the Dec. 23 letter, they wrote that “diplomacy is the best path to halt and reverse Iran’s nuclear program, decrease tensions in the region and facilitate our nation’s reincorporation into the international community. We are united in our support for swiftly taking the necessary diplomatic steps to restore constraints on Iran’s nuclear program and return both Iran and the United States to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as a starting point for further negotiations.”

The signees claim that the agreement “verifiably constrained Iran’s nuclear program until after the United States’ unilateral withdrawal.”

The Trump administration withdrew in May 2018 from the 2015 accord, reimposing sanctions lifted under it, along with enacting new ones as part of what it called a “maximum pressure” campaign. The Democratic signees wrote that “has left Iran with an unconstrained nuclear program, failed effectively to address Iran’s other malign behavior and greatly increased the likelihood of violent confrontation and conflict.”

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They continued, saying “this incoherent and provocative policy has increased regional tension and attacks against our troops and our partners and emboldened Iranian hardliners. As a result, the risk of potentially devastating miscalculation remains unnecessarily high. Re-engaging multilaterally on preventing the development of an Iranian nuclear weapon and reopening channels of communication are essential to reversing these dangerous developments.”

Additionally, the letter said “Iran’s other destabilizing activities in the region, such as its support for terrorism, development of ballistic missiles, human rights violations against its own people and holding of foreign political prisoners, including Americans, warrant strong and coordinated international diplomacy. The JCPOA does not prevent our ability to address these destabilizing activities. An unrestrained Iranian nuclear program would exacerbate these other threats posed by Iran and inspire a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.”

Biden has said America would rejoin the deal if Iran returns to compliance and that, if the Islamic Republic does so, there would be follow-up negotiations that would also address Iran’s ballistic missile program, support for terrorism and human rights violations.

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